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Promoting your blog: why should you write guest posts?

Looking for free images to put on your blog? Try pixabay.com

Looking for free images to put on your blog? Try pixabay.com

You’ve heard that guest-blogging is a great way of promoting your blog.

And you get the idea. Kind of.

You understand that sometimes bloggers write posts and get them published as guest writers on other people’s blogs.

But you’re confused.

Why should you write guest posts? Will it really help you to promote your blog and get more readers?

Isn’t it hard enough building content for your own blog, without spending time writing everyone else’s, too?

4 good reasons to write guest posts

The idea of guest-blogging is to get a ‘back-link’ – a hyperlink from someone else’s blog back to your site. This has three advantages:

  • it keeps Google and other search engines happy
  • if the site is more popular than yours, your writing will get more readers than if you post it on your own blog
  • people who read your guest post might admire your work, click the link and come to look at your site
  • a new set of readers can give you useful feedback on your writing

How does ‘keeping Google happy’ help with promoting your blog?

You want people to read what you’ve written – the more readers, the better. But if they’ve never heard of you, your little blog will be lost among thousands all over the internet.

Readers will find you by searching for subjects they’d like to read about, and Google arranges the results of the search in order, starting with the websites it thinks are best. If you can persuade Google that your blog has information worth reading about that subject, your site will show up earlier on the search results pages.

One way that Google decides your blog is worth reading is by considering which websites are linked to yours. Back-links from blogs about unconnected topics could actually be worse than none, as these would suggest to the search engines that your topic wasn’t very clearly focused, or that you were collecting random links because you were trying to cheat the search engines. So, ideally, you need to guest post on sites which are connected with your topic.

For example, if you have a business blog to promote a company which sells educational toys, you need back-links from blogs about topics such as toys, education or children.

If your blog is about your personal journey whilst dealing with a particular problem such as an illness, or a life challenge such as parenting or being a student, your back-links should come from blogs related to your main theme.

A niche blog, covering a specialist subject, should be linked with blogs in the same niche. So if you have a writer’s blog, you need to guest post for other sites connected with writing or books. If you’re a writer and you’d like to guest post for Mythbinder Writers’ Showcase, check our Writers’ Guidelines.

How do you find blogs to guest for?

Obviously, you don’t want to waste time researching and writing wonderful posts for blogs which only have a few readers, but the most popular blogs are able to pick and choose – everyone wants to blog for them, and you might have to wait months for your post to appear, even if they’ll accept it.

One way to judge if blogs are worth your time and likely to be interested in linking up is to check their ranking on Alexa and compare it with yours (smaller numbers are higher scores).

Some bloggers don’t want guest posts at all, and you can find the ones who do accept guest writers by Googling for ‘[your topic] guidelines’ or ‘[your topic] guest post’. You can also check this list of writing blogs that accept guest posts.

How do you persuade other bloggers to guest on your blog?

The first step is to add your Contributor Guidelines to your blog. Think carefully about the type of topics you want (and don’t want), the style of writing, length, illustrations, etc.

Before you approach someone and ask them to contribute, you’ll need to write about 30 blog posts. This shows contributors that you won’t get bored with blogging and give up after a few months, when they’ve gone to the trouble of creating content for you. It also gives contributors a better idea of your writing style and the kind of posts you’re looking for.

Plan dates for your blog content, ensuring that your categories are covered fairly evenly and decide how often you’ll post your own writing, and how often you’ll have spaces available for guest authors. Have some pre-written posts or a list of post ideas ready to cover these spaces, in case you don’t have a guest post to slot in.

You can find guest bloggers and ready-written guest posts on My Blog Guest, or ask on Reddit or Quora, but remember that it’s best to accept only bloggers whose sites will make relevant, interesting links for your readers.

What’s the best way to approach a blogger about guest posting?

Always start by reading several posts on their blog, looking at which posts received the most comments to identify the type of content which is most of interest to their readers and look for gaps in the information they’re providing.

Check the comments to see the kind of questions their audience is asking and how they respond to those questions. Add some well-thought-out comments of your own. Read their Contributor Guidelines, if they have some.

Once you understand exactly what they’re looking for, plan titles, sub-headings and keywords for a few suitable posts. If you’re a slow writer, create the first draft before you approach them.

Email the blogger through their Contact page, introduce yourself and say why you like their blog. Say you were planning to write a post about [suitable subject] and you felt it would be ideal for their audience, so would they like to see a draft? Give a link to your blog so they can assess the standard and style of your writing.

Be flexible and prepared to revise your ideas in line with what they want, and always be reliable – if you say you can send a draft tomorrow, ensure you complete it in time if they’re interested.

And the best thing about guest blogging is…

By getting in touch and helping another blogger, you are gaining a contact: a useful online ‘friend’. As your network of contacts expands, you’re building your authority as an expert in your niche. When you’re ready to publish your amazing new ebook, looking for experts to interview for your blog or looking for partnership promotions, you’ll be able to draw on that network as an invaluable resource.

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